SOC Prospective Students

The Graduate Program in Social Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara trains social psychologists for research and teaching positions in academic settings as well as for research careers both in the private and public sectors. The program offers a balance between theory and problem oriented basic and applied research. The program strives for scholarly and professional excellence in research, teaching, and graduate training. Program faculty research generally focuses on the interaction of cognitive, motivational, and affective processes in the production of social judgments and social behavior. Faculty members and graduate students conduct research on a broad range of topics including: attributional processes; attitude change and social influence; impressions of the self, other individuals, and groups; social-cognitive neuroscience; the motivational and regulatory functions of the self; attachment processes in adulthood; social judgment in close relationships; the impact of culture; social support and helping processes in intimate relationships; coping with stressful events; biopsychosocial mechanisms in motivation and performance; stigma; influence of culture on psychological processes; intergroup perception and behavior; content and structure of self knowledge; and stereotyping and prejudice. In addition, affiliated members maintain research programs on communication in adult child interaction, affect and arousal in interactions, and intergroup communication. The faculty offer training in a wide range of methodologies and techniques for investigating these issues. Faculty labs are funded by continuing grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, among others.

Why might you consider the social program at UCSB for doctoral study?

  • Research opportunities in a variety of cutting edge topics of theoretical and practical importance, studied from a variety of perspectives. Faculty members often conduct complementary and collaborative research on, for example, issues regarding the self, group membership, person perception, social emotion; intergroup relations, social support and coping with stress, stereotypes and prejudice, and so on.
  • Access to a wide variety and divergence of state of the art approaches to those topics. Approaches and techniques span social cognition, social cognitive neuroscience, social identity, social psychophysiological, and cross cultural perspectives, with training in both experimental and longitudinal research designs. Together with the cognitive and perceptual sciences program, the social program is also home to the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior
  • A high productivity rate. In addition to a high publication rate, UCSB’s social program faculty impact their profession through outstanding service as journal editors and reviewers, grant reviewers and panelists, and as officers and members of professional committees and organizations.
  • Limited number of well-qualified students. We intentionally limit the number of students admitted to our program so that students are able to work closely with faculty and other graduate students in research and teaching.
  • Access to funding. Our graduate students are highly successful in obtaining both extramural and campus merit-based fellowships and scholarships.
  • Guaranteed support. All students are guaranteed support by the department for a full five years (and typically beyond).
  • Quantitative training. The department provides state-of-the-art quantitative training, with specialization in quantitative approaches available through participation in an interdisciplinary graduate training program.
  • Complementary training. Students avail themselves of course work and mentoring in aspects of cognition, cognitive neuroscience, developmental and evolutionary psychology in the same department.
  • Weekly area wide Social seminar meetings and quarterly speaker series. These meetings and series attract many prominent social scientists to the campus and also offer opportunities for students and faculty within the program to present their current work.
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We encourage you to contact a faculty member for any further inquiries!